Queen of the South ended an eventful week on a positive note, booking their Irn-Bru Cup semi-final spot after a 2-0 victory against League One side Alloa Athletic at Palmerston. Stephen Dobbie`s sublime curling opener gave the hosts a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time and Dobbs nodded home with 15 minutes remaining nodded home a Grant Anderson cross from the right- despite a strong second period showing from Jim Goodwin`s Wasps.
Caretaker manager Jim Thomson made one change from last week`s heavy 4-1 defeat at the hands of Dundee United. Jamie Hamill returned to starting eleven, at right-back, for the first time since Queens` 5-0 defeat to Morton. Captain Chris Higgins dropped to the bench meaning Darren Brownlie shifted into centre-back partnering Andy Dowie.
The teams entered the pitch flanked by former service members prior to holding a minutes silence
The Doonhamers started the brightest and had two early opportunities to get the breakthrough. After some delightful one-two`s between Mark Millar and Stephen Dobbie, the ball was sprayed wide to Hamill on the right and his inviting cross was met by Grant Anderson, his header went over Alloa goal keeper Neil Parry but clipped the crossbar.
Only 60 seconds later, Stephen Dobbie whizzed through the centre of the Wasps` defence from a through ball from midfield, the former Swansea hitman placed his strike low right and Neil Parry pulled off a spectacular save to deny Queens` top goal scorer.
The visitors are flying high in League One and were looking dangerous on the break, former Stranraer poacher Jamie Longworth had their first attempt when the ball bounced nicely for him 25-yards out but his shot was always rising and flew over the bar. The Wasps had an excellent chance to grab the opener when Jordan Kirkpatrick made space in the box but his shot floated over Robinson and into the terracing.
Dobbie`s fierce shot from edge of the box forced Parry into a tremendous save to deny Dobbie again. The hosts had an excellent chance on 26 minutes to pull ahead when Jamie Hamill`s set-piece from the right found the lingering Derek Lyle in the box but his sharp header was cleared off the line by visiting captain Jason Marr. On the half hour mark, Queens again missed a glorious opportunity to move in front, this time centre-back Darren Brownlie`s couldn`t connect cleanly to the ball and his header trickled wide of Parry`s left-hand post.
After a great move from trio Lyndon Dykes, Lyle and Dobbie, the latter was finally put through on goal but for the third time was denied by the excellent Neil Parry in the Alloa goal. It looked like something special would have to beat Parry.
On the stroke of half-time Lyndon Dykes` superb work on the left, created space in the middle for Dobbie and when he received the ball on the edge of the box and curled a mouth-watering shot off the inside of the right-post to give the Doonhamers a well-deserved lead. But Jim Goodwin`s men could have levelled the contest immediately when Kevin Cawley broke forward but was unlucky with his attempt that smashed off the bar.
Dobbie fires home
Dobbie celebrates his first
HT QOS 1-0 Alloa Athletic
The visitors were quick out the traps and won themselves two corners and from the second set-piece nearly grabbed an equaliser. Jordan Kirkpatrick`s corner was met by the head of ex-Stranraer forward Jamie Longworth five yards out, but Robinson was on hand and kept Longworth`s attempt out.
Two minutes later, Wasps` player/manager Jim Goodwin`s shot was deflected by Brownlie, into the path of in-form striker Greig Spence and the former Cowdenbeath man went close with a cute bicycle kick, going only yards wide.
It was the away outfit who were doing all the pressing and created another chance to equalise when ex-Dumbarton midfielder Kevin Cawley tried his luck from 25-yards and was well saved by the full-stretched Lee Robinson.
Alloa were looking the more likely to score next but were caught out when a slack pass was intercepted by Dobbie and his inch-perfect through ball to Derek Lyle led the Tan Man through on goal but tried to lob his effort over Parry but the former Airdrieonians stopper got an arm up in time and denied Lyle.
Lyle is denied by Parry
It was to be Lyle`s last contribution of the afternoon and was replaced by livewire Dean Brotherston on the left of midfield, with Lyndon Dykes moving into the forward position. It was also Alloa`s player/manager Jim Goodwin`s time to depart the field, receiving a few boo`s from the main stand regulars.
The Doonhamers were clearly the second best side on the park during the second half but it was them missed chances which would cost the League One outfit and Queens doubled their lead on 76 minutes. Grant Anderson turned his marker on the right and delivered a sublime cross into the path of the advancing Dobbie and nodded home his second of the afternoon. The goal was harsh on Jim Goodwin`s side after dominating the majority of possession and chances in the second period. During the second goal celebrations, youngster Jake Pickard replaced Mark Millar.
Dobbie nods the second
High fives for the young fans from Dobbie
Four minutes later, Dobbie was close to leaving the park with the match-ball when he latched onto a deep cross from Anderson on the right was slightly over-hit but Dobbie did well to get something on the cross but his effort hit the side-netting.
FULL TIME QOS 2-0 ALLOA
It was Stephen Dobbie who was the difference at Palmerston and secure Queens` place in the semi-finals of the Irn-Bru Cup. Next up for Queens is a tricky trip to league leaders Hibernian. The last time the Doonhamers visited Easter Road, they beat Neil Lennon`s side 3-1 in the Betfred Cup.